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After the Fire, a poem by Hiromi Yoshida

                                                              After the Fire

Before the fire next door
at Rara Avis Apartments on 417 S. Fess,
the dumpster had over-

flowed richly, a stinky marketplace,
inviting tenants to fling
overstuffed black trash bags from
the windows above. The American

flag serving as a shade
at a glowing window
bothered me some, but

it became all right
after the fire—flames that ravaged
the second-floor corner
apartments, facing away
from the dumpster—blackened into
eye-sockets in the skull of the building. Today,

the Rara Avis dumpster has been
normalized by bona fide trash:

- flattened-out, stained, frozen food cartons
- storm-broken tree branches
- yawning styrofoam clamshell carry-out food boxes
- soggy cylindrical toilet paper cores
- battered, dented, venetian window blinds
- plastic buckets of scum-saturated sponges
  and half-used Clorox cleaner bottles

scavengers discouraged like overfed

Hiromi Yoshida, recognized as one of Bloomington’s “finest and most outspoken poets,” is a finalist for the 2019 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition, sponsored by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have been published in literary magazines and journals that include Indiana Voice Journal, The Indianapolis ReviewTipton Poetry JournalThe Asian American Literary Review, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society. Hiromi loves to contemplate the oddities of life, such as mismatched buttons, abandoned houses, and birdsong in thunderstorms.